The artistic vision of the NASA Opportunity rover on the surface of Mars
It seems that for the NASA Opportunity Mars rover, all is not lost. On September 11, the agency embarked on a 45-day “active listening” campaign to receive signals from the Opportunity rover that was lost from June 10, caught in a massive dust storm.
Last week this period ended. But NASA does not give up and decided to continue to communicate with the device: they will send commands and listen to the response signals. Several months have been allocated for this process. There is still hope for a strong wind season, which will blow away the dust from the solar panels of the rover and allow it to recharge.
They changed the strategy a bit, because now they will get in touch with the device less often, but they will not stop trying. Such actions will continue at least until January. Opportunity landed on Mars in January 2014, a few weeks after the Spirit apparatus. Both robots explored different parts of the Red Planet, trying to find hints of water in the past. Initially, these missions were planned for 3 months, but the pair extended their activity for years. The last time Spirit responded to signals in 2010 and a year later it was declared lost. Opportunity turned out to be stronger and made its way along the edge of the 22-km long Endeavor crater, until it faced a storm.
A massive storm already covered the entire planet by June 20, and began to subside a month later. By September 11, the level of visibility was satisfactory. Therefore, the mission leaders decided to activate the 45-day audition. Opportunity had to face the frosty martian nights without the possibility of heating, so the rover could freeze and never respond.
However, NASA still believes in the power of technology, so they will continue to attempt to communicate. Perhaps one day, Opportunity will again be felt.